emeraldarrows: Highlander - Duncan swinging sword (15)
2031-05-27 04:57 pm

Someone will remember us, I say, even in another time.


not spoiler free. feel free to add but please leave me a note.
links → // fanfiction // AO3 // tumblr // dreamwidth // youtube // livejournal //
important posts → // fanfiction masterpost // book scrapbook //

Just me, a fast ship, and a fair galaxy. )
emeraldarrows: Constantine - John smirking (4)
2030-08-22 02:06 pm

To Watch list

TV seasons to watch/finish watching

X Company s3
Highlander s4&5&6
The Librarians s3
Mutant X s3
CHiPs s5&6
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis s4
Xena Warrior Princess s2&3&4&5&6
Bewitched s3&4&5
Bronco s3&4
T.J. Hooker s4
Lawman s2&3&4
Zane Grey Theatre s4&5
Little Men s1&2
Bourbon Street Beat s1
Lancer s1&2
Seven Days s1&2&3
Surfside 6 s1&2
The Collector s1&2&3
The High Chaparral s1&2&3&4
The Ponderosa s1
The Second Hundred Years s1

Upcoming TV I want to try/watch

The Good Doctor - premieres - September 25
Scorpion - s4 - September 25
Seal Team - premieres - September 27
Inhumans - s1 - September 29
Z Nation - s4 - September 29
The Gifted - premieres - October 2
Lucifer - s3 - October 2
Once Upon A Time - s7 - October 6
Legends of Tomorrow - s3 - October 10
The Flash - s4 - October 10
Supernatural - s13 - October 12
The Shannara Chronicles - s2 - October
Godless - premieres - November 22
Knightfall - premieres -
The Alienist - premieres -
The Terror - premieres -
The Frankenstein Chronicles - s2 -
Daredevil - s3 -
Britannia - premieres -
Humans - s3 -
The X-Files - s11 -
When Calls the Heart - s5 - February
IZombie - s4 -
The Originals - s5 -
12 Monkeys - s4 -
Anne - s2 -
Carnival Row - premieres -
Outlander - s4 -

Upcoming Films & Miniseries I want to try

Lewis and Clark
Man At Arms
A Gown Of Spanish Lace
Wreck It Ralph 2
How To Train Your Dragon 3
Oz the Great and Powerful 2
Sherlock Holmes 3
Thor 3
World War Z 2
Prince Charming
The Sword In the Stone
Maleficent 2
Star Trek 4
Robin Hood: Origins
The Avengers: Infinity War part 1
The Avengers: Infinity War part 2
The Legend Of William Tell
Hansel and Gretel: Death's Messengers
War for the Planet of the Apes
The Death Cure
The Little Mermaid
A Court of Thorns and Roses
Rose Red
Tinker Bell
Tulip Fever
Black Widow
Mary Poppins Returns
Pacific Rim 2
The Greatest Showman
Now You See Me 3
A Storm in the Stars
Deadpool 2
New Mutants
Devil in the White City
Justice League
The Silver Chair
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them 2
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Ashes In the Snow
The Beguiled
The Man From UNCLE 2
War of the Worlds
12th Man
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Goodbye Christopher Robin
A Wrinkle In Time
The Shape of Water
The Snowman
Skammerens Datter 2
emeraldarrows: Doctor Who - Fifth Doctor cheering while playing cricket with text "one for team doctor!" (1)
2017-09-10 08:04 pm

I live on the cusp of two worlds, trying desperately to fit into one.

I saw a recommendation on tumblr for Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller and checked it out.

Summary on the back: Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map - the key to a legendary treasure trove - seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship. More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My thoughts: This book had a slow start, and at first glance Alosa had most of the characteristics I dislike in a YA protagonist - too young, far too talented for her age, a violent, unnaturally good fighter, and annoyingly sassy - but I enjoyed the setting so I kept on reading. And before long it captured my interest. Yes, Alosa is all of the things I thought she was, and she is full of herself, but she does improve, and get layers - a tragic childhood of abuse, and a revelation as to exactly why she's so talented and unnatural - that helped change my opinion of her, and even grudgingly admit she wasn't so bad by the end. Similarly Riden starts out as relatively unlikable, but quickly grew on me, with layers of his own to uncover, and some impressive moments of self-sacrifice and honor.

The writing isn't perfect - a bit cheesy and occasionally bland - but there is some witty humor and several moments had me giggling or emotional. The darker moments don't blend well with the overall story - the writer couldn't seem to decide if she wanted a light-hearted swashbuckler or a gritty tale of a very unique girl trying to navigate a man's world - and the brief instances of torture and blood seemed entirely out of place. The real strength of the book, to me, was it's delightful concept, putting a fresh spin on the interactions of pirates and sirens. I'm actually surprised that both don't have more of a presence in YA fiction, but I'm always pleased when they appear, especially with the creativity in this plot. It was also refreshing to see a dash of the darker side of pirate and siren life, even if unpleasant - dubious consent/treatment of both women and men by the opposite gender, and violence. I did have one major issue with the way the topics were handled: while the violence/unwanted behavior of the male pirates to Alosa (and hinted at regarding other women) is rightfully and strongly condemned, the rape/murder of male sailors by female sirens is strangely romanticized as merely the way they reproduce (and one character is praised within the narrative for not trying to fight them off), which made me very uncomfortable, despite the briefness of the scene. But hopefully it's something that will addressed better in the sequel.

Despite its occasional side-eye worthy moments and imperfections, Daughter of the Pirate King was a mostly entertaining, relatively fun read that, if nothing else, left me wishing for more YA pirate books. Particularly ones with sirens.
emeraldarrows: Roswell - Max and Liz kissing at their wedding (9)
2017-09-04 11:06 pm

I threw my arms around him again and this time I gave him the kiss he'd been waiting for.

Next on my reading list was Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George which looked endearingly old-fashioned and fun. And for the most part, it was.

Summary on the back: Poor Creel. She can't believe her aunt wants to sacrifice her to the local dragon. It's a ploy to lure a heroic knight so that he will fight the dragon, marry Creel out of chivalrous obligation, and lift the entire family out of poverty. Creel isn't worried. After all, nobody has seen a dragon in centuries. But when the beast actually appears, Creel not only bargains with him for her life, she also ends up with a rare bit of treasure from his hoard, not gold or jewels, but a pair of simple blue slippers-or so she thinks. It's not until later that Creel learns a shocking truth: She possesses not just any pair of shoes, but ones that could be used to save her kingdom, which is on the verge of war, or destroy it.

My thoughts: At the start, this was exactly what I'd hoped for: an offbeat and whimsical story with a dash of fairytales and a lot of humor. The plot hit a bit of a slump in the middle - and the revelation about the origins of the shoes made me wince a little - but it picked up again, and the ending was lovely and perfect. Creel (dreadful name, but oh, well) was a likeable heroine, Luka and she were cute together, and the dragons - all vividly unique and easy to adore - were completely delightful, as was Creel's relationship with them. The other supporting characters were unfortunately a little lacking - I almost forgot Creel's brother by the end of the story.

The strength of the book was the wonderful writing style which I fell in love with - kind of vintage and occasionally adorable - as well as the world-building of the dragons. Unlike the somewhat uninteresting figures in most fantasies with them, these dragons were all distinctive and very human-like - I especially loved the glass collecting, and having a pet - and probably my favorite characters (especially Shardas). Some of the political scheming/interactions lost me (I have a huge dislike for royals/royal plotting), but otherwise the plot was also, quite refreshingly, original, and I appreciated the lack of modern tropes such as love triangles. And, not as important, but I really love the retro looking cover.

Overall, Dragon Slippers was a quirky, largely enjoyable read that left me wishing more people would write dragon books like it.
emeraldarrows: Once Upon A Time - Killian and Emma's first kiss (7)
2017-08-28 08:11 pm

No part of you is dark or ugly, I said sharply, squeezing his hand. Not to me, not ever.

After my last disappointments (including a few books I never got past the first couple chapters of), a dear friend recommended Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken to me, with the hope that, based upon my favorite books, I would enjoy it. And she was happily correct.

Summary on the back: Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country - and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets - about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North's sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?

My thoughts: *incoherent flailing* I absolutely adored this book. It has been years since I've so completely relished reading a book to the point that I put off watching tv to finish it, and it's the first book I can think of that I genuinely wanted to be longer, even as perfect as the ending was. Someone described it as "chocolate" and I can't think of a better description - warm, delicious, and 100% addictive.

The characters are fabulous. It made my day to find no trace of the usual, eye-rolling description of the male character's "gorgeous looks", and even more refreshingly, North is described as a man, rather than a boy (I'm so weary of fourteen year old protagonists). Even Sydelle, despite being a teenager and having the occasionally - albeit understandable - pouting moments, never felt like the annoying teenage YA heroine. Yes, she's "special" but it's never treated the way typical YA novels handle it, but rather equal parts curse and gift that she doesn't fully understand and can't really control. I also looove North's name - it's fairytale-ish and just delightfully offbeat, and his entire description - his unkempt clothing, drunkenness, and disgruntled attitude - is such a perfectly, wonderfully fairytale real wizard, like the old German books I read as a kid, that I kept grinning ear to ear through the pages. I liked how his personality shifted over the book as more layers and backstory were revealed, and we saw him through Sydelle's eyes. It was also nice to have a chronically ill (cursed, but still) protagonist.

I really enjoyed the love story aspect of the plot. Enemies to allies/friends/lovers is my favorite relationship trope and this book had so much of it, followed by the sweetest, most trope free romance I've had the pleasure of coming across in a very long time. There were several moments that had me tearing up, others giggling, and the ending was just lovely. But more than anything, I loved how the romance wasn't the main focus of the story, and how their relationship grew slowly, as opposed to instant love. I would have liked a lot more world-building - so much of the hedge witches and how magic worked at all was left largely unexplained - but what there was (magic out of the air! with cloaks! and colors!) was fascinating and completely creative.

Overall, I had zero true complaints about Brightly Woven. It was a complete gem, and I can only hope to discover more books like it in the future.
emeraldarrows: Once Upon A Time In Wonderland - Cyrus and Alice kissing (6)
2017-08-23 01:09 am

But I knew the truth - deep down, I always did. I was just a girl.

Someone recommended The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton on tumblr, and the summary intrigued me so much I added it to my list. And while it was something of what I'd hoped for, I was left dissatisfied.

Summary on the back: Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava, in all other ways a normal girl, is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava's quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

My thoughts: This was a very strange and frustrating book. On one level, it was near perfection: breathtaking gorgeous prose, striking imagery, whimsical, extremely unique and vivid characters - even the most minor ones gave of a Dickens vibe and were memorable - an entirely likeable protagonist, and a completely original plot. The villain was very unique and believable, and the different ways the people viewed Ava - from evil to good - was very interesting. I adored Ava, and several of the surrounding characters, and the entire concept of a child born with wings was completely delightful, from the matter of a fact way her birth was presented, to the nearly logical science behind it all. I loved the historical feel of the setting, and all the small and touching details of Ava's world.

But beneath all the good, there was several things that troubled and unnerved me: the sometimes shocking moments of violence and grotesque scenes - from animal harm to rape to a graphically gruesome attack, and unexpectedly grim themes, particularly concerning death, loss, and religious fanaticism. In many ways the story felt like a fable, or lovely fairytale, lulling me into a sense of ease before rattling me with twists of horror out of nowhere, before dropping the entire plot in a final, strange twist. It might be that I didn't quite understand the author's message and whether it was supposed to be depressing or optimistic - is it that the world will destroy everything pure and good or is it a message of hope, and triumphing over the worst tragedies? - but in either case the two emotions the book stirred never came together, leaving the entire plot with a patchwork, unsettling tone. Even the wistful, often beautiful writing was undermined by the unevenly interwoven darkness.

Overall, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a disappointment, leaving me in awe of the excellent parts and disturbed by the bad.
emeraldarrows: Robin Of Sherwood - Robin and Marion hugging (5)
2017-08-12 10:50 pm

He hadn’t stood a chance really, but that was the power of hope, the utter cruelty of it.

Next on my list was Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin, an alternative historical thriller with a bizarre, but intriguing premise. And, despite my reservations, I ended up being quite impressed.

Summary on the back: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's Ball in Tokyo. Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

My thoughts: This was another hard book to define. The premise is fascinating, and despite my initial reservations - the entire concept seemed slightly disrespectful - the historical background was handled quite well, even if it was occasionally difficult to read. There were a few moments that made me very uncomfortable, but for the most part I felt the writer did a good job balancing the realistic horror with sometimes inspiring fantasy. I do usually love alternative history, so the concept caught my attention from the start. Several moments, particularly in the flashbacks, were haunting and poignant. And the writing style was often lovely.

Yael was both likeable, and easy to relate to, and her ability was very interesting. Most of the supporting characters were a little bit lacking and indistinctive to me. The world-building was quite well done, and despite a few overly imaginative elements, much of the story felt believable. The ending felt abrupt, and a little bit of a letdown after all the buildup (hopefully the sequel will be better resolved), but for the most part I enjoyed the plot.

Overall, Wolf By Wolf was a very good, if somewhat unsettling book that left me planning to read the sequel.
emeraldarrows: Constantine - John smirking (4)
2017-08-10 09:50 pm

If she was going to die, she might as well die sarcastic.

My latest reading was The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black. I enjoyed her The Darkest Part of the Forest, so when I learned that she'd written a vampire novel, I had to add it to my list.

Summary on the back: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

My thoughts: This book was...difficult to describe. It had an odd and unpredictable tone that kept giving me whiplash - from humor that had me giggling to jarringly violent and tragic moments, and the plot kept veering between utterly brilliant and disappointingly predictable YA fantasy. The urban gothic feel appealed to me highly, but the lack of details left me wanting more. I really loved the concept of the Coldtowns, but found the world-building annoying vague - I wanted so much more backstory and explanations! - with the most interesting parts teased but barely explored, particularly the vampires who choose to end their lives. Tana was, by turns, a perfectly interesting character and so naively stupid I wanted to shake her - most of the time, she reminded me of the character who goes into the dark room in a horror movie and gets killed off early. Seriously, most of her choices were questionable, to say the least, even taking into account her childhood trauma and age. Aidan seemed to be a completely unnecessary character - or maybe it's just the way I saw him? - and Midnight and Winter were intensely unlikable, right from the start.

But, I loved Gavriel. While I would have liked more of his past, motives, and even his romance with Tana to be fleshed out, his character was by far the very best thing about the book. I like my literary vampires unquestionably non-human, and dangerous, and Gavriel hit every trope I love and then some. His backstory was fascinating and tragic, and I liked the ending, and the choice he made.

Overall, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown was a strange book, that I couldn't decide if I truly liked or not, a disjointed mix of the excellent and the disappointing.
emeraldarrows: The X-Files - Mulder kissing Scully on the forehead with text "Mulder/Scully" (2)
2017-07-27 02:47 am

He was a boy of air and dust and sunlight. Everything that had gone into the making of the world.

Next on my reading list was Timekeeper by Tara Sim, which caught my eye with it's offbeat plot. And it turned out to be an absolute delight.

Summary on the back: In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time - and a destroyed one can stop it completely. It's a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors. And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny's new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower's clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield's time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he's fought to achieve. But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he'll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

My thoughts: I adored this book. From it's fabulous steampunk twist on history, to it's completely creative world-building, everything was complete perfection. The writing style was gorgeous, and I loved the entire creepy concept of time stopping an entire town, trapping the people inside. The concept of clock spirits was highly unique and fascinating - I wanted to know so much more about them! - and the historical details felt perfectly accurate, despite the interwoven fantasy elements. I enjoyed most of the background characters, and there were so many lovely scenes and moments, as well as an enjoyable ending.

Danny was a likable, thankfully non-annoying protagonist - I really enjoyed the concept of the mechanics in general, and it was such a delight to have a central character who wasn't the over-used savior type, but rather just an ordinary boy doing the best he can, and struggling to come to terms with the loss of his father and his mother's grief over it. Colton was instantly lovable, with his poignant loneliness and observations of the humans he watches over, and yet believably other-worldly. I loved the concept of him being connected to time - his little cog that he holds when he's sick was adorably sad - and their romance was sugary sweet and exactly what I'd hoped for. The whole plot had a funny, comforting feel, like an old children's novel, something I've never come across in a modern book, and loved.

I had no complaints whatsoever with Timekeeper and loved it wholeheartedly.
emeraldarrows: The Mentalist - Patrick smiling and looking adorable (14)
2017-06-15 07:58 pm

For a moment, she almost forgot he was a pirate.

Next on my reading list was To Catch A Pirate by Jade Parker, which promised a historical swashbuckling romance. And it ended up being exactly what I was hoping for.

Summary on the back: When Annalisa Townsend’s ship is set upon by pirates in search of her father's treasure, one of the crew, James Sterling, discovers her in the hold. When he moves to take her necklace, she begs him not to, as it is all she has left of her mother. He accepts a kiss in exchange for the necklace. "A fair trade, m'lady," he tells her afterward, before disappearing. A year later, with a forged letter of marque, Annalisa is intent on hunting down the wretched James Sterling and reclaiming her father's treasure from him. But now she’s in danger of him stealing something far more vulnerable this time: her heart.

My thoughts: I was in the mood for something very light and fluffy and To Catch A Pirate certainly delivered. My expectations were quite low, so I ended up being very entertained by James and Annalisa's adventures and quite adorable romance, even as instantaneous as Annalisa's infatuation was. I adored the piracy and sea-faring aspects of the story, and while completely far-fetched at times - okay, often, the entire book had an enjoyable whimsy about it that kept me turning pages.

I do wish the characters had been a bit older - I think I'm getting old in that every time I read book with teenagers being captains of a ship I just roll my eyes - and a bit more build up to the romance would have been nice, but overall I had few complaints with the delightful escapism of the tale.
emeraldarrows: Charmed - Piper waving her hands with text "I did it!" (12)
2017-05-30 01:09 am

How foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky.

Next on my reading list was Salt To the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a novel about a largely unknown event in WWII.

Summary on the back: Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets. Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war. As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. Yet not all promises can be kept.

My thoughts: I must admit, I'm not at all familiar with the historical tragedy that forms the basis for the story, so by the time it happened, I'd nearly forgotten it was going to be in the book at all. It strangely felt like an afterthought, rather than what should have been the focus, leaving the ending somewhat rushed and jarring compared to the pace and tone of the entire story up to that point. Despite the sense that the plot is building toward something, the majority of it is more a character study of a group of people who happen to cross paths. The writing style took me a bit to get used it - it has a strange, uneven feel like poetry that doesn't rhyme, and is a little over simplified at times - and the continually switching point of view was occasionally hard to follow, but I liked the characters and emotional impact of their experiences. All of them seemed more mature than most YA characters - I forgot most of them were meant to be teenagers - and it was easy to become attached to them, particularly Florian and Emilia whose relationship - thankfully non romantic - was quite sweet and touching. Florian and Joana's romance was a bit underdeveloped, but enjoyable. Even the background characters - like the shoemaker - were fleshed out and interesting.

One thing I particularly liked was that the entire book has the feel of a memoir written by a survivor, rather than a distant account, making the history seem so much more vivid, and the fate of several of the characters much more tragic. I also loved the contrast between each of the main characters, the secret they hide, and how each forms a quarter of the whole story, due to the uniqueness of their viewpoint. I appreciated how the writer didn't shy away from the horrors of the war, even if some of the bleakness was uncomfortable to read. The book is also probably the closest thing I've ever found to the gorgeous The Unresolved, which is one of my favorite books.

Overall, despite an odd writing style, Salt To the Sea was a powerful, haunting book that left me thinking about it for quite a while afterwards, and eager to learn more about the history that inspired it.

emeraldarrows: Moonlight - Mick carrying Beth (11)
2017-05-23 09:56 pm

Far better to be taken soon. But not now. Never right now.

Someone recommended The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín on tumblr, and the summary intrigued me so I checked it out.

Summary on the back: You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun. The Sidhe are close. They're the most beautiful and terrible people you've ever seen. And they've seen you. Nessa will be Called soon. No one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she's determined to prove them wrong.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. Equal parts The Hunger Games blended with Irish folklore mixed with a dash of Lord of the Flies, it was delightfully unique, bizarre, and strange in the very best way. I loved the concept - years ago the Irish trapped the fairies in a mystical realm, and they now pay by having their children taken in a gruesome game - and the world building - training camps to attempt to make more children survive the Call, thereby ensuring the human world endures. It was dystopian, but in a completely fresh way, and I got instantly caught up in it to the point I couldn't put it down. The characters were diverse, and unique enough that I even kept track of the background characters. And the Sidhe were fascinating! Apologetically horrific and grim, with the feel of being plucked from ancient legends and nightmares, it was a strange relief to have uncomplicated villains - both fairies and the human Connor - that are unquestionably nonredeemable, while still raising questions regarding whether the humans were in the right to begin with. The writing is stark, creepy, and excellent, sucking me in from the start and never slacking.

And Nessa! A disabled, courageous protagonist who is underestimated (instead of a nearly mythical savior as most YA types seem to be), determined to survive when everyone tells her to her face that she shouldn't even try, and who gets her happy ending, all without a magical cure or erasure of her disability. Best of all, her disability is merely a part of her, not the sum total of her personality. It was such an absolute gift to finally find a character like this that I got quite giddy over it. Her friendship with Megan - who was so supportive of her - was wonderful; I'm still broken over her fate. And Anto was such a sweetheart - a perfect match for Nessa's feisty spirit. I also greatly appreciated that the book didn't just gloss over the psychological effect that the Call has on the children - even showing the trauma years later on the adults who've survived it.

I had a few minor quibbles - I would have loved more backstory, a slightly less rushed romance - although it had some sweet moments - and at times the gore was a bit much, but the compelling atmosphere, setting, and style far outweighed the bad and has me eagerly awaiting the sequel.
emeraldarrows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Spike kissing the top of Buffy's head (10)
2017-05-19 09:56 pm

When the swamp took my brother, it sent someone - something else to take his place.

Next on my reading list was Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker which promised a Southern Gothic, horror-tinged tale. But the results were quite a letdown.

Summary on the back: It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp - the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance - and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

My thoughts: The premise is absolutely fascinating. The deep south atmosphere is alluring. But unfortunately, that's as far as it goes. Despite a promising start, the story asks more questions than it answers, and the characters are flat and uninteresting, which baffled me considering how much potential they initially had to be intriguing. There was so much possibility with Phin and Sterling's relationship, but the lack of flashbacks, and the story starting after his disappearance means you have no background on them, making it difficult to care about her quest to rescue him. Then there was Heath, who could have been an amazing character, and instead fell short, both in personality and in his friendship with Nathan. Most frustrating was Leonora May, a character it should have been impossible not to make interesting, who yet somehow managed to be remarkably dull.

The book suffered from a lot of "tell but don't show" when it came to the relationships - even Heath and Sterling's romance had no buildup to make me invested - and while the writer may have been trying to keep an air of mystery about the swamp, the lack of real explanations made me too frustrated to appreciate the atmosphere. I did love the deep south details, though, and only wish everything else had been better to go along with them.

Ultimately, Beware the Wild was a disappointment, with a brilliant premise and perfectly good writing squashed beneath poor execution and uninteresting characters.
emeraldarrows: Doctor Who - Fifth Doctor cheering while playing cricket with text "one for team doctor!" (1)
2017-05-16 01:01 am

But who names a starship the Icarus? ...that much hubris, that he dares it to fall?

I keep seeing people talking about These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner on tumblr, so I bumped it up on my reading list. And while not at all what I was expecting, I ended up loving it.

Summary on the back: It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

My thoughts: I looove space romances. And I adore the whole stranded on an alien world/having to depend on each other to survive cliche. And while the ages of the protagonists had me raising an eyebrow (fourteen, really?), I grew to love them both. The story benefited from a narrow focus - only two characters for the bulk of it - and while the character development felt a bit sketchy at times - there was far too little of Tarver's past, which I kept waiting and hoping for - I grew to love both characters and their relationship with each other.

The beginning, while well written, was a bit slow, and took me a while to get into, but I ended up sticking with it, and I'm glad I did. The plot twist partway through took me completely by surprise - I absolutely adored it, though, even if I'm left with more questions than answers regarding Lilac and the life on the planet in general. The whole concept was refreshing, so very different from most YA sci-fis (it was very nice to have characters who were saving each other instead of this massive undertaking to save the world, for a change), and left me eager to start on the rest of the series.

Overall, I had few complaints with These Broken Stars, and enjoyed it tremendously. I also love that gorgeous cover!

emeraldarrows: Spartacus - Agron sad face (8)
2017-04-07 11:52 pm

Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.

Next on my reading list was The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black which I'd heard a lot of good things about and finally decided to try.

Summary on the back: Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for. Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does. As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My thoughts: My very favorite thing about this book was the fantastic atmosphere: dark and dreamy, with the kind of evil fairies from old stories. I love fairies in general, and this took it a step further than most fantasies. The mix of folk tale and modern world was delightful and surprisingly well fused - I adore the concept of tourists coming to see the boy in the glass coffin, while at the same time showing Hazel and Ben's special bond with him throughout their childhood. The plot had a lovely, almost whimsical feel to it, and the ending was the perfect bittersweet fairytale. Unlike a lot of fantasies, I felt it struck a good balance between being dark and creepy enough to be enjoyable, and yet not over the top gruesome. The writing, sometimes simplistic old-fashioned tale, other times very beautiful and profound, sucked me in and kept me turning pages even when the plot sagged.

While there wasn't as much depth to the characters as I would have liked, I enjoyed their uniqueness. Ben's curse .. or gift ... was very interesting, and Hazel, despite being a strong character, lacked the usual abrasiveness of female protagonists. The mysterious boy was a bit of let down, unfortunately, or maybe I just expected something more from him after all the mystery and build up at the beginning. My favorite character was Jack, though - honestly I would love the entire book to be from his perspective. I've always liked the concept of changelings, and it was such an intriguing plot point to have the parents demand their own child back and keep and raise the changeling, too. I felt like there could have been so much more explored with his character. I admit I was a bit worried initially that the story was building up to an entirely different romance, and I was relieved and very happy to discover the direction it went in instead. I loved Jack and Hazel's relationship, even if it felt a bit underdeveloped at times. Ben and Hazel's sibling relationship was also very sweet and touching, with a bit of a Hansel and Gretel vibe.

The plot was a bit hit and miss, occasionally disjointed and tangled to the point that I got lost - perhaps my loathing for mysteries was hurting me there - and the revelations were disappointing. Overall, it felt like it needed another novel to flesh out the story more, and while I enjoyed it very much - especially its gorgeous tone - it felt slightly less than satisfying.